January 4, 2017
Before Christmas Wounded Warriors Canada received a donation of $7,000 from Gatewest Stamp and Coin LTD in memory of Captain Patrick Rushowick.
UNIT:Area Support Unit, CFB Kingston
When Captain Rushowick was 14, he joined the army cadets in the hope of making a career in the military. He ended up graduating from Kingston’s Royal Military College officer’s training program in 2008 with a bachelor of science degree. In 2009, he became the assisting officer to a family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan. As a combat engineer he was deployed to Haiti to help rebuild the country after it had been ravaged by an earthquake. Not long after he returned to Canada, in November 2010, he was sent to Afghanistan.
Prior to his deployment to Afghanistan there was news a friend had killed himself. It was a grim start to Capt. Rushowick’s tour of duty. A year later, when he returned to testify at the Board of Inquiry into the death, his mother, Bonnie, could sense the changes in her son. “He spoke of his friend from time to time,” she said. “He always disagreed with what his friend did. That is why it was even more shocking to us that he took his life.” Living in the moment-to-moment intensity of a war zone took more out of Capt. Rushowick than he expected. Like so many of his fellow soldiers, he turned inward, choosing not to tell his family of the friends lost overseas and the enemies killed.
LAST POST:In Afghanistan, Capt. Rushowick witnessed and participated in a number of ramp ceremonies when a soldier’s body is returned to Trenton, Ont., to grieving families. Sometimes he watched multiple bodies return. When Capt. Rushowick himself returned, he married – but within a year his marriage was on shaky ground. On June 11, 2013, Capt. Rushowick left a note with a friend across the street to “please look after Zeus,” his dog. Then he drove back to CFB Kingston to the senior officer’s mess, where colleagues saw him and waved. Capt. Rushowick pulled out a gun and shot himself in full view of a stunned mess hall.
Family and friends gathered to celebrate Capt. Rushowick’s love for his country and for his random acts of kindness, from helping dig out cars swallowed by snowbanks to mowing the neighbour’s lawn while they were gone on vacation. His death left his mother wondering if his suicide could have been prevented. “If somebody could have grabbed him, and if he’d gone and seen a counsellor right away – would the outcome have been any different?” asked Ms. Rushowick. “It’s a hard thing to be left with.” Fortunately, she has memories of her son’s pre-Afghanistan self; the 6-foot-6 guy with the extra-tall sense of humour who would laugh the loudest, even if the jokes were on him.
For stories of memory's of Captain Rushowick, please see the Globe & Mail's feature, "Remembering 31 Afghanistan War Veterans Lost to Suicide": http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/remembering-31-canadian-afghanistan-war-veterans-lost-to-suicide/article32657290/?click=sf_globe&click=sf_globe#rushowick
We thank Gatewest Stamp and Coin LTD for their compassion and support.
- Honour the Fallen, Help the Living.